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On Rogan Josh, Amitav Ghosh, Madhur Jaffrey and Old Delhi
Monday, 09 June 2008

imam-and-the-indian_thumbnailI have always enjoyed reading History as a subject in the school. A few weeks back, I had the fortune of dining with Durban’s best known short story writer, Dr. D. A. Padayachee and well known poet / activist Danny Naicker. Dr. Padayachee took us to Jewel of India which is a part of the exclusive Elangeni Sun at the Durban beach front. We had the pleasure of having Rogan Josh with all its subtle flavours and I have often wondered about it since then. The history of the ultimate delicacy Rogan Josh is as interesting as the dish itself. Curiosity about its origins led me to learn a little more. Many years back, I had been served Rogan Josh by my Kashmiri friends in Gwalior. Its rich aroma prepared by Aunty Katju still gives the sense of olfactory fulfilment. After that I have had the pleasure of enjoying Rogan Josh prepared in different varieties in different countries.

Ramblings of a Bone Setter
Wednesday, 21 May 2008

bone setting of a jawModern Orthopaedics is shaped on the skills laid down by centuries of tradition handed over by Bone Setters from all over the world. Liverpool is not only famous for its cobbled streets, drunken brawls at the wharf, the prettiest of wimps trading their wares, the Beatles but also to one Hugh Owen Thomas who is considered, the father of British Orthopaedic Surgery. His father Evan Thomas was an unqualified Bone Setter from the hills of Wales. He suffered bitter opposition from qualified doctors which gave him this firm determination of sending all his five children to Edinburgh to study for a Medical Diploma that would protect their profession of Bone Setting. Hugh was the eldest of all. Quoting from Watson – Jones, Fractures and Joint Injuries, ‘ Power, prestige and reward were as nothing to him, but he won such a place in the hearts of seamen, dockers and housewives that when he died in harness they lined the streets of Liverpool in thousands, sobbing testimony to the friend they had lost.’

Faces from Gwalior
Tuesday, 11 September 2007

gwaliorIt’s strange that from my childhood time during every election, I felt sad. There was always somebody who would be elected and represent Gwalior in the Parliament as a back bencher. The beauty of Gwalior was always mercilessly trampled by such people who never knew the actual Gwalior. The parliamentary seat always went to obscure people who obviously have used their financial clout to get a seat allotted for them. M.J.Akbar, a former Member of Parliament and a well known literary figure has confessed in his blog about the vast amount of money which each contesting member spends to retain the constituency.

My Pishomoshai and I
Friday, 03 August 2007

rickshawPrabhat Kiron Bose was my Pishomoshai. Well, for my non-Bengali readers, I'd better explain who a Pishemoshai is. He is the husband of Pishima, my father's sister.

I never remember seeing him as he had passed away during my childhood but he always remains an enigma for me till today. Prabhat Kiron Bose was a great writer, a well known figure in Bengali literature of the fifties. His mansion at No. 7 Rajabagan Lane, Hatibagan (Elephant’s Garden), Kolkata was frequented by writers, poets and freedom fighters. My father and his brothers who were great admirers grew up reading his stories and poems. He was one of the very few writers of that period who took up writing as a full time profession.

In Bhutan
Thursday, 07 June 2007

amitabh03So this is something which happened many years back.

Something which stuck to me, fibrils like so many others.

It was in 1985.

I was working in a high altitude hospital in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Remembering Zimbabwe of Old
Thursday, 07 June 2007

bulawayoIt’s Friday again and the afternoon is resounding with the distant marimba beat inoculating that certain joyousness which heralds the coming of a weekend.

My one-year old son, now so tuned to the marimba, crawls out towards the sounds, his face lit up with the same spirit which is common to the people here. He has an Ndebele name lovingly given to him by the nursing staff. He is Tabani.

That was Bulawayo fifteen years ago. My friends also called it Little London. 

JS – Not just a Magazine
Thursday, 07 June 2007

jsFor me JS was not just a magazine.

It was much more than that.

Through JS I met the most talented and charismatic people who influenced me in my later life.

Turn, Turn, Turn To the Rain Again…
Monday, 04 June 2007

love-poetryLove poetry, the British Woman, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century India
Just when one felt that the final misery had been reached and not another day nor another degree of heat could be borne, with the setting sun the rain came – in a torrential downpour which lasted for forty eight hours. Clad in the briefest, I rush out into the darkness to the still red hot brick chilboutra and let the deluge pour over me, while the thunder rumbled and the lightning played around the inky skies.

Indian Summer
A Mem-sahib in India and Sind
April Swayne – Thomas
Another time we meet
As strangers, friends or who knows
As lovers again
Turn, turn, turn to the rain again.

Strangertime – Pritish Nandy

Unforgettable Times
Sunday, 22 January 2006

Indo English Poetry in the Seventies
The seventies were great years. They had a momentous impact on me. I found myself in the midst of a lot of happenings. Bangla Desh was liberated. Noor e Alam Siddiqui alias Tiger Siddiqui, Abdul Qudus Makhan, Shahjahan Siraj and Mohammad Abdur Raub, their bravery at the helm of Mukti Bahini stuck to my mind. General Niyazi was brought to my home town of Gwalior. His surrendered pistol adorns the mess at Gwalior. The boy king, His Excellency Jigme Singhe Wangchuk sat on the throne of Bhutan at the same time. I had embarked on my medical studies in Gwalior Ten years later, I watched him playing soccer with his uncle at the stadium in Thimphu.

I read yesterday that he wants to quit monarchy and give Bhutan a democracy as much as I would love to leave medicine and enter a world of creative involvements.